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Shishkin shines on chasing debut

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Shishkin put in an assured performance to make a successful debut on his eagerly-awaited first try over fences under rules at Kempton.

Rated as talented a prospect by trainer Nicky Henderson since Arkle Trophy and dual Champion Chase winner Altior had his first start over the bigger obstacles in the same race four years ago, Shishkin did everything asked of him.

His jumping looked immaculate for a novice from the first fence, where he outjumped Battle Anthem.

Taking a clear lead under Nico de Boinville after clearing the second, Shishkin had the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest to himself from then on.

Mick Pastor tried briefly to mount a challenge, but the 1-6 favourite went on to score a facile success by 23 lengths. Battle Anthem was another 49 lengths away, last of the three finishers.

Shishkin was trimmed to 6-4 favourite from 2-1 for the Sporting Life Arkle Trophy with Coral and cut to 7-4 from 5-2 with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Henderson said: “All you do in these situations is breathe a sigh of relief – you are glad when it is over.

“Having said that, you would have to be very pleased with the way he has executed the mission. He has enjoyed himself and he is quite showy when he wants to be.

“Nico was more pleased with him at the last when there was no stride at all, but he was just very sensible and quick. When he needed to just adjust himself and get to the other side, he was very good at that as well.

“You can see what he can do when he is long. You just pray he doesn’t go too long sometimes and try to do something silly to get out of trouble. He was very sensible.

“It was the same when Altior came here and you let them do that (go out in front). We’ve had a nice school, but I love Kempton.

“It is lovely ground and Barney (Clifford, clerk of the course) has done his usual good job. I’ve been in touch with him all the way through and he said it was lovely ground.

“It is a very nice track for them to start as there are no traps around here. It’s just a very good racecourse. Nico went round this morning to make sure it was safe on top, but he said it was lovely ground.

Henderson is now looking to Kempton at Christmas for Shishkin, following a route he took with Altior in 2016.

He added: “I would think that (Wayward Lad) is probably the route. We were never tempted to go hurdling.

“The Altior situation was he could have won a Champion Hurdle and I suppose he could, but he is a chaser. This is the start of another expedition.

“We’ve been very lucky at having these two-milers and that is a genuine two-miler, there is no question at the moment in my mind anyway, as he is very quick.”

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